Bloody Good, Adrián!
Remember Adrián López, the Mexican bartender who won the last Tahona Society Henry Besant Scholarship? Well he’s living in London now, happily learning English and meeting lots of people from the sector. Fortunately, he was adopted by our loving and beloved Tahona Society family, who have made it their task to make him feel at home.
Before reading more, we invite you to take a look at this video for a more in-depth look into Adrián’s life and a better understanding of why he was the deserving winner of the Henry Besant Scholarship.
Family is a kinship
Adrián grew up under the care of his mother and aunt, surrounded by his cousins and brother. While his aunt was in charge of working outside the home to provide for the family, his mother did the housework, raised the kids, and of course, “los jalones de oreja”- a Mexican expression, meaning “yanking by the ears” to keep children in line. And yes, their ears were definitely yanked!
“They gave us all of the necessities and a little more, so that we could have a happy childhood.”Adrián recalls.
Neither his aunt nor his mother needed anyone else to help them guide Adrián, his brother, and his cousins along a sound path. They just needed each other and their bond, which Adrián calls “kinship.”
“Family is a kinship. They are the people that you can count on— who you can be yourself with, without feeling that little jab of uncertainty. Family embraces you when you need it and gives you the strength to continue with what comes next; they talk to you and correct you when are wrong; they don’t abandon you in your worst moments; they motivate you to be a better person, and they celebrate your victories with you.”
A new family in London
For Adrián, the Tahona Society and the general community surrounding Altos are synonymous with family. “The Altos family has adopted me and I feel very thankful and happy. They have placed a lot of trust in me; they believe in me and have helped me to regain the confidence I lost on a couple occasions.”
With regard to his experience in this new city, he says that it has been very gratifying so far. Fortunately, the days have been sunny and the people he meets are kind when Adrián lets them know that he speaks very little English.
Speaking of English, he tells us that he is really enjoying his classes and the opportunity to practice while immersed in the English culture. He likes his teacher most: “she makes the classes unique, dynamic, and this helps with my hyperactivity.”
He especially appreciates being able to practice his English in a setting that is familiar and dear to his heart- with bartenders. A few days ago, he had the opportunity to visit and meet some of his favorites: Erik Lorincz from Kwānt Bar, Remy Savage from Artesian Bar; and Alex Kratena and Monica Berg from Tayer & Elementary. These moments spent with his “new family” feel less like English practice and more like using his new English skills to form bonds with really amazing people.
The Fam Bar team is no exception- the time he spends at Fam Bar allows him to really polish his bartending vocabulary. He’ll sit at the bar and listen to the bartenders talk to customers and also share drink terminology directly with him as they mix and serve. He also joins them in community service work, recreational activities, visiting parks and of course, going to a London pub- the best setting for strengthening both his English skills and the bartender-to-bartender bond over a pint.
Ever since Adrián met Megs Miller at the Tahona Society Global Final in Mexico, he was intrigued. He remembers when he mentioned to her that he would go to London to study English and Megs responded, “I can’t wait!” and gave him a hug so tight, that he could feel the affection and trust. In fact, Megs, along with Tom Besant, brother of the late Henry Besant, picked Adrián up from the airport when he arrived in London. He then had the opportunity to meet Megan, Head Bartender at Fam Bar, who now not only helps him with his English but is also teaching him to box.
“I am happy and grateful for this family that adopted me in London. I know I am new here and don’t speak the language, and all I have to do is study in order to take advantage of this fabulous experience that they are giving me.”
The Henry Besant Scholarship: Before and after
It has been nine months since Adrián won the Henry Besant Scholarship, which seeks to change the lives of bartenders by providing them with career opportunities that they likely would not be able to obtain on their own. It is a way of giving back to those that give so much to liquor brands and consumers.
Adrián “still can’t believe it,” and every day he finds more reasons to be grateful for the trust and opportunity that he has been given.
“I want to learn a lot and do something big; I want to leave my mark on cocktail and bar history; I want my parents to feel proud of me; I want to be fulfilled and happy with what I do, and while being a bartender provides me with a lot of this, I want a little more.”
Of course, he is aware that with self-confidence he can achieve his biggest dreams. As he puts it: “Fearlessly, I am going for it.” His girlfriend always encourages, supports, and drives him. In fact, he dared to share that it was she that forced him to enter his first cocktail competition where he didn’t do too bad, but didn’t win.
Finally, Adrián assures us that he is the same person he was before this opportunity, but that now he has an objective, responsibility, and commitment to being happy.